Brush fire damages house under renovation in Matoaca

Brush fire damages house under renovation in Matoaca

12 February 2011

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USA — A brush fire spread to a home undergoing renovations Friday afternoon, setting back plans to rent the property as a horse farm. Chesterfield, Dinwiddie and Virginia Department of Forestry officials spend much of the day making sure the fire did not spread to adjoining properties.

No one was injured in the blaze off Church Road, said Lt. Jason Elmore with Chesterfield Fire and EMS. A person nearby called 911 to report the fire, and crews arrived just after 2 p.m.

“When they got here, a lot of the grass that’s extremely dry out here this afternoon was on fire. It quickly spread to the house,” Elmore said.

Crews quickly tackled the interior of the house, knocking down that fire. They then turned to an estimated five to six acres of very dry brush and grass that was ablaze. A work van appeared burnt out and other vehicles and trailers were damaged, Elmore said.

The nearest hydrant was approximately a quarter mile down the lengthy driveway and Church Road, but it was not an issue, Elmore said. Firefighters used tanker trucks to fill a temporary pond for fire crews on the driveway. Brush trucks worked the property and a forestry bulldozer headed into wooded areas.

Owner Joseph Walta came down from Richmond after receiving calls that his property was on fire.

“It’s not what I really wanted to see. I’ve got the house 60 percent remodeled, and it’s a total loss at this point,” he said.

Walta said he planned to fix up the house and rent the 15-acre property as a horse breeding farm. He said the property was about 60 percent complete, with new siding, windows and a new roof installed and mostly interior work remaining.

Walta guessed he had lost tens of thousands of dollars on the project. The building was not insured because it was under construction, he said.

The fire’s cause was not immediately available, as the fire marshal was still investigating.

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